Tag Archives: Spouse-Critter

Cherry Blossoms and Chickadees! A Springtime Review

Spring is finally officially here!! Huzzah!

So pretty!

It’s silly, but Wednesday was both the first day of Spring and the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. I’ve never gone, but I have friends who hit it every year. This weekend I’m in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for Zenkaikon, an anime convention. Before I left, I started Cobble Hill’s Chickadeedeedees.  It’s a 500 piece puzzle featuring chickadees and cherry blossoms by the amazing Karen Latham.

Pardon the warm tones, I was trying to reduce my night-time glare.

This is one of the new 2019 designs, and one of the rare puzzles SC insisted on. I’d never known that my spouse liked chickadees, but there he was, reading me the Wiki and listening to bird calls on YouTube. If you want an awesome video about chickadees, I recommend LesleytheBirdNerd’s video.

Honestly, I find it cute when he gets excited/inspired by something out of the ordinary. He listens to me explaining the difference between ribbon and random cut puzzles. By the way, this is very much a random cut puzzle! SC likes the random cuts, finding them to be a great mental challenge. “That piece doesn’t go there at that angle…Shit, yes it does!”

I mentioned that I started this puzzle, however, I didn’t manage to finish my assembly before having to leave. SC, bless him, took some of his spare time to finish it and gave me his analysis. He also did my amazing cover photo!

Two thirds finished and yes, that’s a dice catalog in the corner.

I’d managed to do about 2/3rds of the puzzle, finding it to be of moderate difficulty. It’s a 500 piece puzzle, so the pieces are comfortably large and with a random cut, the placements are not always obvious. SC did the final third, noting that I had mistakenly placed a piece where it didn’t belong, so he spent a bit of time looking to place a piece that belonged in the space I’d filled.

His sorting style was thus: flowers first, then obvious leaves, then twigs, then oddball shapes, and finally the standard shaped pieces. He did say it was of moderate difficulty, and that a couple of pieces nearly achieved flight (he was frustrated and want to throw them across the room)! SC notes that the large piece size confused his eyes, but made his hands happy, and that the pieces fit and click in securely. Both of us liked the new small poster included with the puzzle that was printed with the same linen texture as the puzzle and that both puzzle and poster images matched!

All done! I couldn’t have done it without my Spouse-Critter!



  • Company: Cobble Hill
  • Title: Chickadeedeedees
  • Artist: Karen Latham
  • Year released: 2019
  • Pieces: 500
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 19.25 x 26.625
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in USA


  • Box: Sturdy, Medium-weight, 10″x14’x2.5″ Matte-Linen Finish
  • Board: Thick and sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Satin, linen texture
  • Puzzle Dust: Almost none
  • Piece shapes: Random
  • Piece Fit: Very Good, nice tight fit that if careful, SC could lift it up completely

Disability Notes: I can definitely recommend this for a teen, an adult, or for a person whose hands have good and bad days. SC and I both had fun, and the full assembly only took us roughly about 6 hours over 3 days. My hands didn’t ache after assembly, and the difficulty level was certainly up to adult standard.  I can happily recommend a large piece puzzle for people with fine motor skill issues, or arthritis.

Where to buy: Chickadeedeedees is available on the Cobble Hill website for $15.99 USD. It is currently out of stock, but it’s on order, which means there will be more made soon!

Cobble Hill Puzzle Company : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Adventures in the offing, and Courageous Conversations

This last week has been crazy. You see, SC and I are heading off to the first of our big three conventions. During the Spring and Summer, I work as a part time vendor selling plushies (stuffed animals) at anime and science-fiction conventions. However, once a year I get to switch my seller hat for a buyers one. We start our year at Toy Fair!

Toy Fair New York is a trade show for just about everyone involved in the toy industry. Buyers, sellers, inventors , and investors, they will all be there.

For four days, SC and I will browse through a mindboggling array of booths looking for both plushies for the Boss and for new blog material for me. There are roughly 1060 vendors there, I’ve managed to winnow it down to a list of 200. Still, that’s a lot of people to see and talk to!

Let me introduce you to Jæger. He’s my ESP(emotional support plush). He’ll be popping up on both my Twitter and Instagram while I’m at Toy Fair.

That’s the fun part of this weekend, the not fun parts? We’re taking a train to NYC from Virginia. I love traveling, but hate the fact that my illness doesn’t agree with sitting for long periods of time. Also, NYC in winter is usually not my cup of tea. I hate being cold! The worst thing though, is that this year I’ll be renting a wheelchair.

I use a cane about 90% of the time, except on good days in my own home or at the homes of friends I know really well. I really only use the motor carts at the supermarket as an absolute last resort.

I don’t want to need to use a wheelchair, but after spending 9 hours on a train, arriving at 2 in the morning, and walking around Times Square to get to one of our favorite 24 hour diners (Tick Tock Diner), I’ll be completely wrecked. We did it last year with me on a cane and I ended up exhausted. I can’t do my job exhausted, much less out of spoons.

It sucks, and I had to deal with several anxiety attacks over the idea of transitioning to a wheelchair, even if temporarily. I fight constantly to keep as much of my independence as I can, and detest feeling like a burden.

SC, bless him, does his best to help me. He was the one to fight for me going to a cane instead of leaning on him for balance. I hated that back then, but he was right, once I got used to my cane it gave me back the pep and vigor I’d thought lost for good. Hopefully, using a wheelchair for a day or two will save the spoons I need to do my best at Toy Fair.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page.To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Life reminds us that some things only depart for a while

Greetings All!

TL:DR – SC had to medicate PuzzlePaws for pain, so the next post will be late.

SC here, PuzzlePaws is feeling a touch under the weather.  She had an ambitious post planned and was about halfway through the initial filming when her knee (which has almost NEVER been a problem before) declared that now was a good time to report Level 9+ pain for no reason (i.e. injury, impact, weather, etc).

She tried to tough it out and “walk it off” with only OTC painkiller and a muscle relaxer, but the knee wasn’t having any of it (9 -> 7).  I caught her at it, dosed her with Rx painkillers, and sent her to bed for the rest of the day.

At this point, PuzzlePaws can’t string two words together and is grumpily sleeping.  She should be fine in a couple of days (or in less pain).

Chronic diseases are like this.  You’ll get some periods of time where the symptoms are tolerable to non-existent, and then…WHAM! Level 9-10+ pain.  You can’t work through the pain, because it is ALL you can think about.  When you medicate the pain, you can’t work because the medications steal your brains.  (For reference, PuzzlePaws’ pain tolerance is about 2-3x higher than a bog-standard human’s.  A “9” on her scale would put most people (likely unconscious and/or vomiting)  in the hospital.)

Posts from me will be rare (other than the occasional snarky edit here and there). I will be posting how-to videos on the Patreon (and occasionally here) when I have the time.

Ciao, SC

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!